23 January 2015
Vodacom is rolling out prepaid EMV cards to complement its m-pesa mobile wallet service in South Africa.
The card is certified by the major international payment schemes and is accepted at any of the 240 000 EMV-compliant payment terminals and over 27 000 ATMs throughout the country. This is expected to extend the reach of Vodacom’s services significantly.
EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa and it is a global standard for inter- operation of integrated circuit cards – IC cards or “chip cards” – and IC-card capable point-of-sale terminals and ATMs, for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.
The Vodacom m-pesa card is secured by Gemalto, the international digital security company. Its off-the-shelf solution for Vodacom encompasses design and production of the card, as well as automatic packaging and point-of-sales delivery. The card links to m-pesa accounts, and allows users to make payments for goods and services without the need to carry cash.
The m-pesa card is available directly from 8 000 Vodacom agents and enrolment with the company’s secure system is quick and easy. Users can check current balances via the mobile wallet app and receive SMS alerts when funds are running low. Because it is a PIN-protected virtual account, the user’s credit remains safe even if the card is lost or stolen.
“Gemalto offered us the convenience of a fully packaged solution,” said Herman Singh, the managing executive of m-commerce at Vodacom. “By expanding our m- pesa mobile wallet offering with the banking card, we’ve been able to add an entirely new level of functionality which we think is critical to the success of m-pesa in South Africa.”
With this new project, Vodacom became the first mobile operator to initiate the large-scale rollout of an EMV banking card that was accepted anywhere said Thierry Mesnard, the senior vice-president for Africa at Gemalto. “This innovative deployment highlights just how quickly the worlds of banking, retail and mobile communications are changing.”
It was aimed at offering greater convenience, security and social inclusion.